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Baldwin fined $10,000, put on probation

7/13/2004

INDIANAPOLIS -- NASCAR fined Kasey Kahne's crew
chief $10,000 Tuesday and put him on probation for his role in a fight in
Tony Stewart's pit during the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway
last weekend.

NASCAR fined Tommy Baldwin $5,000 for violating a rule
prohibiting altercations in another team's pit area (Section 12-4-A: actions detrimental to stock car racing). He was fined another $5,000 for not controlling other team members (Section 9-4-A: crew chief responsible for actions of driver, owner and team members). He also was placed on probation until Dec. 31.

The sanctioning body also said it was fining four crew chiefs
for equipment violations earlier this month at Daytona.

"For not doing anything, it's a big, big hit for the team,"
said Baldwin, who was at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for testing before
next month's Brickyard 400.

Ray Evernham -- president and CEO of Evernham Motorsports, which owns Kahne's No. 9 Dodge -- took the ruling, but not the incident, in stride.

"NASCAR has made its decision; now it's time to move on," Evernham stated. "I understand why Tommy and the team reacted the way they did in the heat of competition."

Baldwin got the message from NASCAR.

"You can't voice your opinion, and you can't leave the pit
box," he said. "I understand they're trying to make an example."

Baldwin said he had not discussed the fine with Evernham.

Evernham said in the statement: "NASCAR has rules. I agree with rules. Evernham Motorsports also has rules. NASCAR has made its decision and imposed its penalties. Now, I will impose the appropriate penalties for Evernham Motorsports."

He didn't elaborate, but said the team must concentrate on
future races.

The fight in Stewart's pit Sunday happened after Stewart,
running third, bumped Kahne, the race leader, on a restart midway
through Sunday's race. Kahne spun headfirst into the wall, putting
him out of the race, and Stewart went on to win.

Baldwin and his crew went to Stewart's pit, where a heated
discussion turned into a shoving match, with crew members falling
over tires until NASCAR officials separated the two sides. Evernham later said that if Stewart wasn't suspended he might give the driver a good beating himself.

Only Baldwin was penalized by NASCAR for the Chicago incident.

Marc Reno was fined $25,000, and three other crews were
penalized for equipment violations before the NASCAR Nextel Cup
race July 3 at Daytona International Speedway.

Reno, crew chief for Bobby Hamilton Jr., and Jimmy Elledge, crew
chief for Casey Mears, were fined $20,000 apiece for misaligned
carburetor throttle bodies discovered during prerace inspection.
Reno was fined an additional $5,000 because a rear deck lid did not
fit the required template during inspection before practice for the
Pepsi 400.

Todd Berrier, crew chief for Kevin Harvick, and Kevin Hamlin,
crew chief for Dave Blaney, were fined $1,000 apiece for using
unapproved oil tank breather hoses. Those infractions were
discovered by NASCAR inspectors before qualifying.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.